With Thanksgiving last week, it escaped me that I had more interviews from the CYBILs Poetry panel:
MsMac What is your day job?
Misti: I’m a children’s librarian at the Licking County Library in Newark, Ohio
Tricia: I teach future elementary and middle school teachers at the University of Richmond. My areas of specialty are math and science
Irene: I’m the mom of three sons, and my husband and I run a small business.
Jone: I am a K-5 teacher librarian.
MsMac: Who are your poetry mentors?
Misti: When I think of a poetry mentor, one of my undergraduate professors comes to mind — Dr. Devin Brown, who is himself a poet, and who has a gift for inspiring a greater appreciation of poetry in his students. If you had asked me who my favorite poet was at age 10, I would have said Shel Silverstein; at age 15, Robert Frost, at age 20, John Donne, at age 25, William Shakespeare — and beyond that, some combination of all of those, with many others thrown in!
Tricia: My poetry mentors are Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Billy Collins, Wallace Stevens, J. Patrick Lewis, Douglas Florian, Jane Yolen, Avis Harley, Helen Frost, Marilyn Singer and of course, Lee Bennett Hopkins. I could name many others as well! I have a whole set of mentors just for science poetry!
Irene: I admires so many, both living and dead, famous and not-yet-famous, including the entire Poetry Friday community…and because I know you want an actual real-person, famous name, I’m happy to share that I feel a real affinity for Lee Bennett Hopkins.
Jone: Naomi Shihab Nye, Janet Wong, William Stafford, Valerie Worth, Basho, William Carlos Williams, Helen Frost, and Ellen Hopkins.
MsMac: What qualities are needed in a poetry book to make the finalist list?
Misti: As for the qualities of a top-notch poetry book, everyone else has stated it so well, that I will just agree — language used intelligently and purposefully, that readers of all ages can connect with.
Tricia: I agree with Mary Lee and Carol that poetry should be accessible. I’m big on language. I look at the words poets have chosen and how they use them. I probably shouldn’t look so deeply into craft, but I do. I will also say that I look at coherence. I like to see the big picture and how the poems hang together or are connected, either by form, introduction, topic or order. For example, I loved the way Mary Ann Hoberman connected all the pieces in THE TREE THAT TIME BUILT, even though there was a huge variety of poem types. I loved Avis Harley’s book AFRICAN ACROSTICS for the way she handled the form and kept things connected through the topic of African animals. I think Linda Ashman’s book STELLA UNLEASHED and Lee Wardlaw’s book WON TON are terrific examples of order, using the poems to tell a story. (I know that WON TON) was not in the poetry category last year, but it’s really a fine example
Irene: There are a number of things, but the one quality that really sets a collection apart for me is the “surprise” element. I want to see fresh images and analogies, poems that widen my eyes and introduce me to something unexpected, something special, something beautiful.
Jone: Accessibility, lucious words and rhythm, and something original and unique
MsMac: What is your favorite chocolate?
Misti: I like all chocolate, but really good, high-quality, creamy milk chocolate is my favorite.
Tricia: I like my chocolate dark and unspoiled. I don’t like fillings or flavor, just something like 60-70% chocolate. Once in a great while I do like a bit of spice and will go for a dark chocolate square with a hint of pepper in it.
Irene: I like my chocolate any which way, but especially dark (give me a bag of Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips, and I’m a happy gal!).
Jone: Dark, dark chocolate. Pure.
We are as busy as the elves in preparing the top sekrit CYBILS finalist list.
Poetry Friday is at The Poem Farm today.